LeBron James hailed "the intangibles" of Rajon Rondo's display in the Los Angeles Lakers' series-levelling 117-109 win over the Houston Rockets.
The top-seeded Lakers made it 1-1 in the Western Conference semi-finals as guard Rondo produced a dominant outing on Sunday to mark his return to form and fitness.
Rondo had 10 points, nine assists and five steals against the Rockets off the bench in just his second appearance in the bubble.
But James highlighted Rondo's overall influence, which the Lakers have missed since he suffered a thumb injury in practice in July.
"I think he was just extremely aggressive, not only offensively, but defensively – taking the challenge on James [Harden], taking the challenge on whoever he was guarding. Just trying to lead," said James, who had 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
"I mean, that's what 'Do [Rondo] is. He's a leader. And for us to have him back in the postseason, it's a key for our team.
"He comes in, he pushes the tempo, he gets guys involved and that doesn't always show up in the stat sheet.
"The intangibles that he does both offensively and defensively – his nose is always around the ball and he just makes plays for us, and tonight was another example of that."
The Lakers switched things up after the 112-97 loss in Game 1 and James said it showcased the team's versatility.
"We built the team to be able to play in different ways and to be able to play big versus teams, to be able to play small, to be able to play in between," he said.
"We built that from the beginning and we have that, always had that, in our toolbox."